The Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) Treasurer and Chembe Member of Parliament Mr Mwansa Mbulakulima has expressed deep concern at the rampant corruption and abuse of taxpayer’s money in the Patriotic Front Government. Speaking in Lusaka, Mr Mbulakulima said that the Patriotic Front when in opposition, in collusion with some media houses and NGOs, relentlessly accused the MMD Government of corruption.
“Most of the accusations were nothing more than sensational and unproven allegations that were used to deceive Zambians to get into power, a lot of hot air,” Mr. Mbulakulima said. He expressed alarm at the rate at which colossal amounts of public funds are systematically disappearing from Government institutions with law-enforcement agencies without a doubt turning a blind eye.
Mr Mbulakulima cited as a strong case in point the recent revelation by the Auditor-General’s report on the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) indicating that out of a provision of K196 million for Water Sanitation Programme Support Phase One, K47.74 million for 10 contracts awarded to consultants had no tender documents for audit and the funds have not been accounted for. The findings have further revealed that there was failure to provide procurement documents and it was therefore not possible to ascertain whether the provisions of the Public Procurement Act were followed.
“The economy is bleeding profusely judging from almost all economic indicators. The cost of living is sky-rocketing through high electricity, food and fuel prices and the government does not seem to pay any attention to these issues affecting our people. It is commendable to be focusing on infrastructure development projects, 90% of which were left by the MMD, but if one goes around the country, many of these projects such as the Ndola township roads project are now on stand-still and contractors nowhere to be seen,” said Mr Mbulakulima.
He said that the MMD Government was heavily criticized for the infrastructure development programs on roads, schools and hospitals, that they were just haphazard unplanned projects being used for campaigns. The MMD was also attacked for the Mobile Hospital project but in their customary deceitful manner, the PF Government is now glorifying the very same projects they criticized.
“Infrastructure development is not what the PF campaigned on, nor is it what they were voted in for. They were voted for on a pro-poor platform of ‘More Jobs, Lower taxes, More money in your pockets, a new Constitution in 90 days, the Barotseland Agreement resolved in 90 days, etc.’ After miserably failing to achieve these fake campaign promises, they have now dishonestly hijacked what the MMD Government was already doing, but they are doing it without proper planning and budgeting, not to mention lack of qualified manpower as most of the original project planners where fired.”
“For example, by the time we left, MMD was in the process of constructing 20 District hospitals and 125 out of an original list of 650 Rural Health Posts, the same Rural Health Posts the PF have been talking about for three years and construction of which has now been suspended. Some of the hospitals such as the Levy Mwanawasa Hospital were already open to the public by 2011. All of these projects were well time-framed, budgeted and properly planned for by the MMD in the 6th National Development Plan and ‘Vision 2030’, but have now gone out of control and are being recklessly undertaken for political expediency by a party that knew nothing of the history of all the complex decisions we made to come up with all the plans,” he said.
“PF keep saying that what is important is who finishes the projects, but they ignore the fact that we did finish many projects and many others were in progress and we would have finished all the remaining ones and moved to the next phase had we won in 2011. PF have done nothing new on their own but just continued where we left off and they are attempting to take credit for it.”
Mr Mbulakulima also cited another recent example of PF Government corruption, which is the case unearthed by Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) of the alleged fraud, diversion and misapplication of public funds amounting to over K3.3 million, again at MLGH meant for the Rufunsa and Chongwe Constituency Development Funds. He said that the MMD is questioning why MLGH seems to be handling this matter casually when these funds are Constituency Development Funds, set aside by government to address community needs through poverty reduction projects in the 150 constituencies of Zambia.
He agreed with TIZ that these funds are supposed to be managed through the Public Resource Management framework in order to promote integrity and high levels of oversight for effective utilization of this fund. It is alleged that of the amount set aside for the two constituencies, Chongwe received an allocation of K2.6 million but the K1.3 million meant for Rufunsa has dubiously vanished and not been delivered to the constituency. “Would we be wrong in assuming that this is because it is held by an MMD Member of Parliament?” Mr Mbulakulima asked.
Mr Mbulakulima said that judging by the TIZ and Auditor General’s reports, it is clear that under the PF Government, adherence to the regulatory framework of handling public resources is very weak. He said at the rate the PF is moving in just three years, they may turn out to be the most corrupt government in Zambian history. Mr Mbulakulima said he strongly believes that what has been unearthed is just the tip of a very large iceberg.
“Zambians must keep their eyes on the ball and question some of the issues that are being brought to light and keep the government in check. Otherwise, we may wake up and find things completely out of control. All this is happening while Lusaka City Council workers are being laid off due to lack of funds, but money for costly and unnecessary by-elections is always available.”
“Zambia’s survival depends on an experienced, moral and honest leadership that will govern the economy professionally and prudently manage the country’s resources. Zambians did not vote for the current rampant abuse of tax-payer’s money being witnessed under PF. This money is supposed to be channeled to protecting the weak and voiceless majority of our people. We in the MMD are campaigning on a platform of moral leadership and we know the Zambian people shall see the wisdom of our position as we go towards 2016,” he said.
“The Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) must pursue these matters to their logical conclusion to find out what is really going on at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing so that all taxpayers’ money is fully accounted for and all culprits brought to book” he said.